Hinduism, Tolerance, and Individuality Essay

Hinduism, Tolerance, and Individuality Essay

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Hinduism is often viewed as a particularly tolerant religion. The lack of a single omniscient God, absence of a prophet, and the open worship of what may look like many Gods may tell a tale of open worship, individuality within religion, and a peaceful, tolerant way of life. Without further examining what Hinduism entails, this may seem like the perfect religion. When the impression of superiority is looked at with a little skepticism, the pretty picture is marred by the deep scratches of discrimination, sexism, and elitism.
In Hinduism, people are born into their respective caste, determined by parentage. The four main castes are: Brahmins (priests), Kshatriyas (warriors), Vaishyas (common people), or Shudras(servants). Each caste has its own duties to attend to, and each is expected to do so without regard to personal thought or choice. If duties are not attended to in the way befitting one’s caste, it is thought that the individual would suffer from bad karma. If an individual responds to situations in a way befitting of their caste, they are likewise rewarded with good karma. This insinuates an easy way to manipulate people into behaving in ways that they might not otherwise behave.
The categorization of a caste descends as low as “untouchables.” This term was ascribed to people that were considered so tainted that they were not to be touched by the other castes, and they were not allowed to even be in sight of the upper class. One could postulate that this is quite similar to the antiquated belief that African Americans were “unclean” and should be segregated from Caucasians.
The four main stages of life in Hinduism also take the caste system into account. The first stage is that of a student, being led by a teacher. T...

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...oes not hide the actual discrimination that is present in every single aspect of the Hinduism lifestyle. I’m sure that this is fine with some of those that are in the higher caste of Hindu society since the effect this bias has is not a detriment for them. However, I am also sure that there are many born into the lower classes that realize they have more to offer to society than their religion tells them they do. These examples show that, although the multiplicity of Hinduism may reflect the recognition that people are different, it does so in a discriminatory and biased manner.

Works Cited

Molloy, Michael. Experiencing the World's Religions. Tradition, Challenge, and Change. 5th Edition. McGraw-Hill, 2010.
Religious Studies at the University of Wyoming (UoW). Nd.Hinduism. Retrieved February 8th from http://uwacadweb.uwyo.edu/religionet/er/hinduism/HSLIFE.HTM

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